A breakaway rebel governing body, the proposed Ten10 format and lack of interest from broadcasters are among “18 threats” that international cricket faces right now, according to a report of the ICC’s Strategic Working Group.
The report claims to be a SWOT analysis of the issues confronting world cricket, which the ICC group will discuss with the Board of Control for Cricket in India in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The Strategic Working Group comprises Cricket Australia’s David Peever, BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, Singapore’s Imran Khwaja, Cricket South Africa’s Patricia Karambami, West Indies Cricket Board’s Dave Cameron and women’s representative Clare Connor.
The group will update BCCI office-bearers – Acting President CK Khanna, Acting Secretary Amitabh Choudhary and Treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhry – on a global strategy for cricket.
“Yes, there has been threat to ICC,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on condition of anonymity. “A very well-known former cricket administrator [ who is currently banned], along with an Indian TV channel and an Australian lawyer had approached a lot of players and officials in order to form a parallel global body. They had named it Operation Watershed then.
“They wanted to form parallel associations in each country and were offering a lot of money to the players. The project didn’t take off but there’s no reason that it wont take off once again,” the official added.
The ICC analysis does not take names. However, it is interesting to note that in 2016, there were reports of sacked IPL commissioner Lalit Modi approaching officials from England and Australia to form a parallel body, a speculation that dies down as qucikly as it took off.
Another matter of concern is the proposed T10 format amid statements from stars such as former New Zealand skipper Brandon McCullum that Test cricket will not be sustainable in the long run.
“The T10 league is also a matter of concern,” the official said. “More so, it was organised by Emirates Cricket Board [last December] with a lot of current players like Eoin Morgan, Shoaib Malik, Dwayne Bravo taking part.”
These threats could be directly linked to point No.8 in the report which states: “Uncontrolled private investment into sports by commercial operators whose interests are aligned with short term financial gains rather than long term health and growth of sports.”
Football’s growth in traditional cricket nations is also listed as a threat in the ICC analysis along with a “lack of competitive tension in broadcast market”.
“In a way, it is true. Save Star and Sony [networks], there aren’t many who are ready to invest huge sums in cricket,” the official said. “So if its a two-horse race, then you know that there aren’t new broadcasters coming in.”
The report also speaks about the “collapse of traditional broadcast/sponsorship and the threat from unspecified “political uncertainties”.
It is to be noted that India and Pakistan have not been not playing each other in bilateral series owing to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and the volatile diplomatic ties.